Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has achieved a future tightening of the rules by temporarily suspending part-time work requirements for a large share of recipients, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Single parents with a child age 1-2 and those with two children under the age of 6 are getting letters telling them they no longer have to work to collect a welfare check.
The move represents a return to the welfare approach that existed before a national overhaul in the 1990s.
California officials emphasize the relaxation will end in 2011.
Welfare expert Donna Pavetti of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington says it is unclear whether other states will follow California's lead.